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Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Sunday, 30 January 2011

Motherwell had Rangers striker Steven Naismith worried


Smith delighted to reach final

Motherwell had Rangers forward Steven Naismith contemplating a Co-operative Insurance Cup defeat before his match-winning goal at Hampden.

Maurice Edu's opener had been cancelled out by Keith Lasley's reply before the holders won 2-1.

"They are a team who do have a go," said Naismith. "They don't sit in.

"We had a lot of work to do. When they got back on level terms, you feared the worst, but we managed to pull through that and got the result."

Rangers now face Old Firm rivals Celtic in the 20 March final, which will be one of four remaining meetings between the Glasgow rivals this season.

"Just the four?" joked Naismith when asked about the prospect by BBC Scotland. "There's no too many!"

We are disappointed at the goal we lost, but we are happy to be in the final and that was the object

Rangers manager Walter Smith

Rangers manager Walter Smith was also is jovial mood when contemplating two Scottish Premier League meetings against their title rivals, a Scottish Cup fifth-round tie at Ibrox, and now a League Cup final.

"Oh well, what a way to go!" said the long-time Rangers servant who has already announced he will stand down as manager at the end of the season.

While Celtic eased to a 4-1 over Aberdeen in Saturday's semi-final, Smith was not surprised that Motherwell gave the Scottish champions a testing 90 minutes.

"Motherwell, having the extra man in midfield, were always going to make it difficult for us unless we were right on top of our game," he said.

"There were spells where we played well throughout the match but others where Motherwell had good possession of the ball because of that extra man.

"There were not that many opportunities for either side and we are just delighted to get through.

Steven Naismith heads Rangers' winner
Naismith scored the winner for Rangers at Hampden

"We are disappointed at the goal we lost, but we are happy to be in the final and that was the object."

Naismith's winner was set up by Nikica Jelavic, who has returned from injury in time to replace Kenny Miller after the top scorer's transfer to Bursaspor.

However, both Naismith and Smith pointed out that the Croat is still short of 100% fitness and they were looking for him to become a bigger influence.

"He is some kind of miracle man if he wasn't - out for three months and he has been forced to come into the team almost right away," said the manager.

"Obviously he will feel it and it will take him a good few games to get back to full fitness."

Meanwhile, Smith praised Motherwell's display under recently appointed manager and former Rangers midfielder Stuart McCall.

"After having that down part there when after Craig and Archie have left, Stuart has picked them up again and there was a good spirit and determination about them," he added.

"They had a good possession of the ball at different times of the game. Motherwell are a dangerous team."

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see also
Rangers 2-1 Motherwell
30 Jan 11 |  Scottish Cups
Scottish football photo gallery
30 Jan 11 |  Scottish Premier
Sunday's football as it happened
30 Jan 11 |  Scottish Premier

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